Action from their ‘A’ team win over Syresham
South Northants Cricket League Division 1
Castlethorpe v Willoughby
Castlethorpe 173 all out
Willoughby 151 for 7
Castlethorpe won by 22 runs
A mid-table berth looks the likely outcome to Willoughby’s topsy turvy season after they were beaten in their penultimate away fixture of the season at Castlethorpe.
Batting first, the hosts set a decent target for the visitors to chase as they made 173 all out; Stuart Walding with 46 and Waqar Ali Asghar adding 35 their top scorers with the bat.
Nick Crane continued his fine debut season for Willoughby with the ball that sees him continue to be the division’s leading wicket-taker after another fine return of 3 for 37 as the pick of the visitors attack.
In reply, Willoughby saw opener Ian Andrews top score with a typically well-crafted 35, and although Sean Thornton – promoted to the 1st XI, added 32, the visitors were to fall 22 runs short at the close, reaching 151 for 7.
Willoughby A v Syresham A
Willoughby A 161 for 6
Syresham A 130 all out
Willoughby A won by 31 runs
Third played second at The Green and it was Willoughby who came out on top after a fine encounter with visitors Syresham.
In what was an enjoyable game of cricket played in excellent spirit by both teams in equally fine conditions, the hosts were asked to bat first and came up against their most challenging bowling attack of the campaign.
Runs were at a premium in the opening quarter of the innings but after an early loss Ian Button and number three Martin Nichols steadied the ship until the penultimate ball before the first drinks break.
Button was caught by a fine diving catch with the score at 26 for 2 which became 46 for 3 when Hamish Livingstone also went for 12.
Skipper Ben Hollis then entered the fray and with some typically lusty blows put on 54 with Nichols, before the former too departed having made 24 and then Matt Smart came and went for 13.
However Nichols was still there and when joined by Antony Franks they pushed Willoughby onto a total they had something to bowl at, adding an unbeaten stand of 43 in the closing overs to see the hosts to 161 for 6, Nichols completing another trademark half-century unbeaten with 54, with Franks also not out on 29. Dan Hopkins took 2 for 30 and Jamie Leeson 2 for 22 for the visitors.
In reply, Franks then took two Syresham wickets in two balls in his first over to leave them in early trouble at 3 for 2 and get the hosts off to a fabulous start.
Leeson and David Beasley then recovered matters for the visitors, so much so they looked on course for a comfortable victory.
That was until the introduction of Karl Quinney broke their 81 run partnership with Beasley going LBW for exactly 50.
Quinney then completed an unbroken 10 over spell with two further wickets for figures of 3 for 30, who along with John Gregson turned the game back in Willoughby’s favour.
Gregson captured 4 for 30 and with Franks completing an useful all-round performance by mopping up the tail to finish with 3 for 16, Willoughby bowled the visitors out for 130, to win by 36 runs.
Whilst the victory may not prove enough to close the gap on the visitors with three games to go in the race for what looks to be the second promotion spot, it offers Willoughby encouragement in their first season since being promoted and shows they are more than competitive in a higher division.
Saturday – 2pm starts
South Northants Cricket League: Division 1: Willoughby v Byfield A
Division 3: Braunston Paddox v Willoughby A
Sunday – 2pm start
Willoughby v Marton